Recognition of Miracles Means 8 New Blessed Will Be Proclaimed

Holy See Also Notes Heroic Virtues of 5 Others, Including 2 Croatians

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 5, 2002 ( Eight miracles were officially recognized by the Vatican at a ceremony that opens the way for four men and four women to be proclaimed blessed.

The eight decrees of recognition were promulgated today during the same ceremony, held in the presence of John Paul II.

The heroic virtues of an additional five baptized Catholics also were recognized, which brings them closer to the Church’s official recognition of the holiness of their lives.

The eight future blessed lived in the 19th and 20th centuries. They were natives of Poland, Italy, Spain and Hungary.

Poland was the cradle of four of them, as the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, explained in the presence of the Pope, cardinals, bishops, religious and laymen.

Among them is Sigismond Felix Felinski (1822-1895) who, after being archbishop of Warsaw, was deported to Russia. Following his liberation, he became an apostle to Ukrainian and Polish peasants. He is the founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary.

The other three Poles who will be proclaimed blessed are John Adalbert Balicki (1869-1948), professor of theology and rector of the diocesan Seminary of Przemysl; Jesuit Father John Beyzym (1850-1912), missionary among the lepers of Madagascar, where he died; Sister Sanzia Szymkowiak (1910-1942), religious of the Congregation of the Virgin Mary of Sorrows, and witness of charity among wounded soldiers during World War II.

There are two Italian women among the future blessed: Eugenia Ravasco (1845-1900), founder of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, apostle of human and Christian education for young women; and Maria Domenica Mantovani (1862-1934), witness of charity and co-founder in Verona of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.

The Holy See also recognized a miracle attributed to Joanna Maria Condesa Lluch (1862-1916), who founded the Congregation of Handmaids of Mary Immaculate in Valencia, Spain, to help young women workers.

Lastly, the Holy See recognized the miracle that opens the door for the beatification of Hungarian layman Laszlo Batthyany-Strattmann (1870-1931), father of 14 children, doctor, founder of two hospitals, and good Samaritan to hundreds of sick people. He died in Vienna.

In addition, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated the decrees of recognition of heroic virtues of four women and one layman.

Two of these five are Croatians. The first is Mary of Jesus Crucified Petkovic (1892-1966), founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mercy of the Third Regular Order of St. Francis, for the Christian education of young women and poor children, as well as care of the sick. She established this religious family in Argentina, where she lived for a few years.

The second Croatian soon to be raised to the altar is Ivan Merz (1896-1928), distinguished philosopher and promoter of Catholic Action. Merz was also a pioneer of the liturgical movement in Croatia.

In addition, the Holy See recognized the heroic virtues of Indian religious Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Eluvathingal (1877-1952), member of the Eastern Church of the Syrian-Malabar rite. Superior general of the Carmelite religious of Koonammavu, she was the recipient of charismatic gifts. She is also remembered in India for her selflessness during an outbreak of cholera.

The last two decrees of heroic virtues were attributed to two Italian religious: Maria Pia Mastena (1880-1951), founder of the religious of the Holy Face for the evangelization and care of the poor, the sick, and children; and Nemesia Valle (1847-1916), religious of the Sisters of Charity, great educator of girls and young religious.

These 13 men and women, Cardinal Saraiva Martins affirmed before the Pope, «in the humility of their daily life and in the most complex and difficult situations, rejected all compromise with evil and gave proof of full fidelity to the truth of God and to the holy law of the Gospel.»

«Their example, which is alive in their native communities and those of apostolate, is a gift of the Spirit for our time,» the Portuguese cardinal concluded.

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